Letters from our Readers: Transportation system shouldn’t be hard to run 

The world has plenty of cities that don’t cut transit service and raise fares several times a year. I’ve had great experiences with frequency and fare prices in London, New York City and Paris.

San Francisco is as transit dependent as it gets. I don’t own a car. I get around by bus. This is true of every person I know. It shouldn’t be as complicated for a city where a large percentage of people take public transportation daily as it is for a city where the public transportation is a partial supplement to automobiles.

If The City cannot run its transit service with non-gas vehicles and $2 fares, then the problem isn’t the ridership and frequency of buses, the problem is mismanagement of funds and profits.

Jared Cohen, San Francisco

Bury SF’s utility lines

All the new ideas suggested by The City for the second federal stimulus are valid improvements, just like the needed Doyle Drive replacement made sense as part of the first stimulus package. However, I suggest The City should use the additional grant to finally underground all the existing utilities throughout San Francisco.

The City’s stalled 50-year plan is not working. Besides, who has 50 years to wait? I can think of no other project that would improve the entire city both aesthetically and economically. Undergrounding all the utility lines would make a dramatic improvement in San Francisco that we all could share in.

John Dunlap, San Francisco

Ban makes for good policy

As a UC San Francisco tobacco researcher, I’m glad that The City might join the many California cities that protect residents from toxic secondhand smoke pollution by prohibiting smoking in outdoor common areas.

When restaurant and bar owners cry “foul” and claim their businesses will suffer if they don’t allow smoking, I remember the exact same arguments from 16 years ago when indoor smoking was banned. Guess what? More people went out to eat and business boomed. Most of us — the 87 percent of San Franciscans who don’t smoke and even many of the 13 percent who do — prefer restaurants without smoke.

Now, the surgeon general and California’s Air Resources Board have determined that outdoor secondhand smoke is a toxic air contaminant with no safe level of exposure. It is the Board of Supervisors’ obligation to protect the health of the public and the employees who work at these establishments. I hope the supervisors don’t cave to special interests.

Naphtali Offen, San Francisco

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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